Researchers develop new mechanism to protect smart cars

Now smart cars can be protected from cyber attack. A group of student researchers in the US have developed a security protocol to protect smart cars with GPS, Bluetooth and internet connections.

smart ccarsIn 2015, two researchers hacked a Jeep Cherokee with remote and controlled everything. They had full control over the car’s radio and media console to its brakes and even the steering. This led the current team of researchers on exploring ways to protect smart cars.

“These cars have become the order of the day and shall be a rage in the near future,” said Shucheng Yu, an Associate Professor of computer science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).

Yu and his student Zachary King, a junior majoring in computer science at the UALR, worked on the project during an intensive eight-week summer research program at UALR.

The program was aimed at fighting cyber attacks using mobile technology and social networking sites, shared Mengjun Xie, an associate professor of computer science and director of the ‘Cyber Safe’ at UALR program.

“There could be some very serious consequences if someone hacked into one’s car. A car in that situation shall be fully controlled by the hacker if it is not protected,” Yu said.

The research that focused on the development of a security protocol, created the ‘Controller Area Network’ (CAN) — an internal communications system in vehicles. This would protect smart cars from hacking.

“Once hackers have access to a car, they can very easily control the car however they want. We are suggesting adding an extra layer of security, so that in case of an unauthorised person having access to it, they still would not be able to control your vehicle,” King said in a statement.

King built an experimental environment that simulates the communication system in a smart car, which allows the security protocol to be tested through simulations.

“There are many ways that hackers can control CAN,” King said.

King was one of 10 college students from across the country recruited through a National Science Foundation grant-funded project. More than 130 students applied for 10 spots. Participants included undergraduate college students with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, majoring in computer science, computer engineering, maths, physics or electrical engineering.